Executive Beechcraft joins Signature stable

 - May 30, 2007, 10:42 AM

BBA Aviation, parent company of the Signature Flight Support FBO chain, has agreed to purchase Executive Beechcraft, which includes four FBOs, a charter/management operation, maintenance and avionics facilities and an aircraft sales division. Executive Beechcraft is a Hawker Beechcraft sales and service center for the Bonanza A36 through the Hawker 400XP and a service center for Cirrus Design and Mooney Aircraft.

According to a BBA statement, after the acquisition BBA will continue to run the business as Executive Beechcraft and will offer the same services. The FBO facilities are located at Wheeler Downtown Airport and Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Mo.; New Century AirCenter Airport in Olathe, Kan.; and Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, Mo.

Two of the FBOs are sole facilities, at Wheeler Downtown and Kansas City International. At New Century AirCenter, there is one competing FBO; there are three other FBOs at Spirit of St. Louis.

While BBA does not plan to rebrand the Executive Beechcraft FBOs as Signature facilities, BBA’s Signature FBOs do have a formal ramp-fee structure and generally higher prices than other FBOs on the same airports. One FBO that competes with an Executive Beechcraft facility told AIN that the acquisition “is good for us, especially if they jack up their prices.”

BBA is buying Executive Beechcraft from the Meisinger family; the company was founded in 1938 by Dan Meisinger, Sr. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The acquisition of Executive Beechcraft might signal BBA’s return to non-FBO services such as aircraft maintenance, which the company used to offer, and new interest in charter and management markets. Citing the “fast-growing business aviation market” as a reason for seeking quality opportunities such as the Executive Beechcraft acquisition, BBA Aviation executive chairman Michael Harper said that the purchase will “provide a platform for continued acquisition and expansion to new markets and services.”

The Right Time for Change

Dan Meisinger’s father started Executive Beechcraft in 1938, and the family has built the business into four full-service FBOs offering fuel, storage, maintenance, sales and charter/management. The Meisinger family recently agreed to sell Executive Beechcraft to BBA Aviation, which also owns the Signature Flight Support FBO chain.

Part of the reason for selling the business was, Meisinger told AIN, “I guess we thought it was time. There is a lot of consolidation going on in this industry, and there appear to be more buyers than sellers.”

BBA Aviation doesn’t plan to rebrand the Executive Beechcraft facilities under the Signature banner and will keep the company and all of its services intact. Meisinger said, “We’ve built it up over a long period of time and we have good brand recognition in our market. BBA doesn’t want to lose that brand recognition.”